29 January 2019

Announcing CIAC’s New Associate Director

Dear Thread STL Members and Friends:
I am thrilled to announce the hire of Kiley Bednar! Kiley will officially join the Community Innovation and Action Center (CIAC) team in early February as Associate Director, Partnership Performance. In this role, Kiley will provide staff support to Thread STL, as well as provide overall direction and oversight in partnership with the Thread STL Steering Committee. Her overall charge on the CIAC team will be to lead and oversee a growing portfolio of strategies to build the strength of our region’s many community partnerships and coalitions, of which Thread is a key strategy. This transition comes at a ripe time to build from a strong foundation that you have been part of shaping since our founding just over three years ago.

A St. Louis native, Kiley comes with more than 20 years of experience in youth development, education and social service administration. Most recently, she served 10 years with the Forum for Youth Investment, providing training and technical assistance to state and local leaders working to get young people ready for life.  Through the Forum’s David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, she supported out-of-school time partnerships throughout the U.S. in building systems to measure and improve the quality of their youth programs. Prior to this, she oversaw the Forum for Youth Investment’s training programs – including the Ready by 21 webinar series and the Ready by 21 Institutes – as well as coordinated the national Children’s Cabinet Network for statewide coordinating bodies. As a technical assistance provider at the Forum, she led community engagement efforts, data communications, and strategic planning for cities and states focused on better aligning their efforts around improved child and youth outcomes.

Kiley’s hire culminates a nearly 2-month search process in which your input, as Thread STL members, played an important role in helping us shape the vision and qualifications for the position. Candidates were reviewed and interviewed by a 6-member search committee comprised of CIAC leadership and Thread STL leaders and several members participated in an opportunity to meet and hear from our finalists.  I share the search committee and CIAC team’s confidence that Kiley’s experience, not just within and adjacent to partnership and coalition work, but also in developing peer learning strategies and networks, will serve her well in this role. Further, Kiley brings a genuine passion for our region and the people in it.

Over the coming months, I’ll be supporting Kiley’s transition on to the CIAC team and working with the Thread Steering Committee to onboard Kiley to support Thread. I look forward to you meeting Kiley in February.

Cheers to the New Year!

Lisa Clancy
CIAC Consultant

20 December 2018

That’s a Wrap on 2018! A Look Back, and a Look Ahead

(pictured above: some of the attendees at our December Member Meeting and Holiday Happy Hour show off the awards that were bestowed upon them by fellow Thread members in recognition of the many accomplishments achieved over 2018).

It was a busy year for Thread STL, so busy that we neglected to keep our blog regularly updated! Alas, much happened this year.

First, we got into a groove with a bimonthly Member Meeting schedule. Members got the chance to hear candid, unscripted perspectives and musings from a variety of partnership and coalition leaders and participants, including the leaders of Forward Through Ferguson, Project reCast, Full Frame Initiative, and USI (formerly Urban Strategies). Thread staff, Steering Committee, and members designed and launched programming together, resulting in a Peer Coaching Circle and two Learning Cohorts (check out the curated resources here, including the Knowledge Briefs).

And finally, amidst all of the new activities, Thread’s host organization, Social Innovation St. Louis, found a new home at what is now the Community Innovation and Action Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. We’re excited about how this change has already helped to accelerate and strengthen what Thread can offer to members, including connectivity to data and evaluation infrastructure and planning for new skill-building opportunities such as a Coalition and Partnership Leadership certificate program.

We’re not slowing down. Stay tuned for all to come in 2019!


22 September 2017

A Note on #STLVerdict

by Daniel Gerdes, Brown School practicum student and Partnership Performance Coordinator at Social Innovation St. Louis

It’s been another difficult week here in St. Louis; this summer has seen a lot of challenges for our community. I wanted to share a personal reflection on the Stockley verdict and what I’ve witnessed in our community over the past several days.

After our Thread STL member meeting on Monday, I was reminded of the importance of being in community when we experience collective trauma. Hearing the perspectives of my colleagues was grounding and reassuring. I also couldn’t help but connect the events of the past several days to Thread’s guiding principles.

Authentic Community Voice – No decision about us without us.

We are authentic when we put community at the center, working with, not for or on behalf of, our constituencies. This is rooted in mutual trust and relationships.

While some view this weekend’s protests as reactionary and unhelpful, I see them much differently. This is not the first time our community has taken to the streets to call for justice. It’s not the first time this year, or even in the last month that members of the St. Louis community have taken to the streets to make their voices heard on issues important to them. So, what’s going on here?

I hear our fellow community members asking for someone with power and authority to truly listen to their pain, but getting no response. What happens when our voices aren’t being heard? We try different strategies, like protesting, to get someone to listen. To me, the actions across the city this weekend provide clear evidence that authentic community voice is not valued in our city.

Protests are a powerful demonstration intended to disrupt. They are intended to redirect focus from our daily lives to issues of critical importance. Over 1,000 people gathered at Maryland & Euclid on Friday night to call on the board of aldermen, their fellow citizens, the police department, service providers, schools, religious institutions, and everyone in between to listen to and feel the pain of our black brothers and sisters.

As a community activist, future social worker, and policy advocate, I call upon all of us to think deeply about our roles as this movement continues:

  • How do the actions over the past week relate to your community partnership?
  • How will you show up to sustain the push for justice in St. Louis?
  • How can you leverage your knowledge, skills, connections, positions, and resources to this end?
  • How will you work to ensure your constituents are not only heard in your partnership, but have a role in visioning, planning, and decision-making?

This weekend has provided yet another opportunity for us to revisit the ways we live out our guiding principles. Our communities are crying out for help – it is our duty to listen, to learn, and join forces with them to build an equitable, just, and thriving St. Louis.

If you are struggling to process everything that’s happened over the last week, you’re not alone; feel free to reach out to Thread staff or any of your Thread STL colleagues listed in the directory.